Meta, TikTok, Snapchat and Pinterest have become popular platforms for many members of the LGBTQIAP+ community to express themselves, to share their identities, stories, experiences, and also to connect with others.
There is no doubt that these brands have provided a space where people of the LGBTQIAP+ community can create content to address those concerns and show how pluralistic their experiences are, giving the chance for others to engage and connect with it.
But in a reality where there are still many cases of aggressive and violent homophobia experienced, the question that won’t remain silent is: when we are talking about those brands, are they considered allies for providing these kinds of opportunities or is it just the rainbow capitalism that speaks louder?
Let’s discuss this in detail.
What is rainbow capitalism?
Rainbow capitalism, otherwise known as pink capitalism, is a term usually used to describe brands that incorporate the LGBTQIAP+ rights movement into their marketing and sales strategies, pretending to be allies of the movement with the goal of capitalizing on the purchasing power of this community and the potential that this period of the month has to offer.
In other words, rainbow capitalism uses the LGBTQIAP+ community narratives without any kind of genuine support to the movement and its fight for greater rights. This lack of meaningful actions has resulted in Pride Month becoming more about consumerism, instead of being focused on activism.
2023 Pride Month programming of social media apps
Last year, Meta announced dedicated VR spaces to highlight queer culture and showcase the LGBTQ+ community, allowing people to express themselves by creating their digital avatars to show how they want to be seen. For 2023 Pride Month, Meta brought up the VR museum again, in a series of posts focused on metaverse experiences.
Snapchat is also focusing on highlighting the celebration and self expression with new content, partnerships, and fun creative tools for the 2023 Pride Month. For that, the brand created Spotlight Challenges, where LGBTQIAP+ people can show off their most hilarious comedy sketches, best outfits and glam for Pride, favorite queer-owned business, and most impressive trick shot on Spotlight for a chance to win a share of $40,000.
Also betting on the metaverse, Snapchat introduced SEEN Camera, a new AR experience that empowers people to tell and share their stories. Another action shared is a partnership between Bitmoji and Nike, where the brand will release a digital replica of the limited edition Be True Hoodie of Nike’s annual Pride collection.
As for Pinterest, for 2023 Pride Month, the intent is to show positivity and inclusion. For that, the brand has announced a new slate of programming including dedicated live streams, shopping spotlights, and a new partnership with RuPaul’s Drag Race winner Sasha Colby.
Pinterest also partnered with Tastemade to promote a new video series that’ll highlight LGBTQIAP+ creators, businesses, drag artists, and more.
TikTok is also focusing on bringing LGBTQIAP+ creators and their work to its 2023 Pride Month programming. We can mention the Pride Visionary Voices List, which recognizes both individual creators and small businesses that are making an impact in the LGBTQ+ community via their TikTok presence, and the promotion of LGBTQ+ non-profit organizations, its first-ever TikTok Pride Creator Ball in LA and a series of themed live events.
TikTok seeks to provide moments of connection, listening and learning from their stories and experiences.
Celebrating lifetimes, but above all, fighting and supporting progress
But are those actions what those brands should only be focusing on when we’re talking about a meaningful and accountable impact on the LGBTQIAP+ movement?
Where are the statistics on the decrease in the practice of LGBTphobia within these companies and the connection spaces they provide? Will they have openings exclusively for the LGBTQIAP+ community? Do they intend to use their media power and positioning to be at the side of the community in critical and LGBTphobic situations that could happen at any time?
As predictable and opportunistic as it may be, there is a benefit for the big brands participating in Pride Month. Even if all they do is the very least, their actions increase visibility for the LGBTQIAP+ community and contribute to the recognition and normalization of their existences to the rest of the world.
Visibility is more important than ever while there is still a lot of suffering from discrimination and hate crime. But as society has historically privileged people who are white and cisgender, it’s fundamental to show the intersectionality of the movement through those who are people of color, Indigenous, Black, people who are trans and gender-nonconforming, considered too complicated to be explored in their campaign narratives.
LGBTQIAP+ people are still there before and after Pride Month, so there’s room for a wide range of supportive actions and genuine alliance for the inclusion of this community with respect and rights in society.
Let me list some of them:
Education and Awareness
Continuously educate ourselves about LGBTQIAP+ issues, terminologies, and experiences. This knowledge helps us develop empathy, challenge biases, and foster a more inclusive culture.
One of the first things you could do is to understand what the acronym LGBTQIAP+ means and the importance of the term in social inclusion.
Language and Pronouns
Instead of assuming the pronouns and form of address someone when communicating with an individual person or in a group, it’s best to offer your name and pronouns to make them more comfortable sharing those they use.
You can also utilize inclusive language by respecting individuals’ chosen pronouns and using gender-neutral language whenever possible. This demonstrates respect and acknowledges diverse identities within the LGBTQIAP+ community.
Advocacy and Allyship
Use your platform and range potential to actively show advocacy for LGBTQIAP+ rights and inclusion within the company and beyond.
Being an ally involves not only creating safe spaces and amplifying those voices, but also speaking up against discrimination and hate crimes. If you’re in a position of privilege, donating money tp organizations that stand for LGBTQIAP+ rights is also one of the best ways you can show your allyship.
Policies and Practices
Advocate for inclusive policies and practices within the company. For example, you can create openings exclusively for the LGBTQIAP+ community, but before that, start thinking about outlining clear and effective strategies on how to include this community in the company’s ecosystem.
Another way of supporting them is by improving your parental leave so that those who want to start a family can do so without having to explain what their family is like.
Do you want to continue to be updated with Marketing best practices? I strongly suggest that you subscribe to The Beat, Rock Content’s interactive newsletter. We cover all the trends that matter in the Digital Marketing landscape. See you there!